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Lessons from Roads Less Traveled - Amity and Runaway
Written April 2, 2013


Amity and Runaway

 AMITY Abides:
Lessons from Roads Less Traveled #3, Part 2


Friends,

If you missed Part 1 of this story, refer to
#3 Amity and Runaway

I went looking on the Internet for Amity in Glenwood Springs, CO, before I wrote Part 1 of the story. I found an address for Amity Ludders there. But, a postal letter got Returned to Sender. Then, Nic suggested Facebook. Why didn't I think of that on my own?

A note sent via Facebook eventually got a couple returns, one of them fairly substantial.

I have permission to share Amity's second note. It is a few paragraphs long and worthy of your reading.

I will give you a hint: Amity is really a Walker and only secondarily a Bicycler.

~~~

Hi Dr. Bob!

Thank you again for finding me and sharing your story with me.  I like your website and I like the way the universe brought us together at that moment so that you would discover the word that you were seeking.  Your description is so beautifully clear it makes very fine and compelling reading, I can see why you would get quite a few responses about it!  You are completely welcome to write more about the encounter, should you wish, and if there is anything that you would like to know about me and my walking I'd be happy to share.

After looking at your website and looking at some of your notes on your 2002 walk I am intrigued!  I have no doubt that you are familiar with Peace Pilgrim and maybe with the book PlanetWalker (a bit different than what you are doing, but a whole lot of walking on roads).  I am reminded of both.  I am always on the lookout for books about walking, especially the kind of walking that you do where you have so much possibility for encounter with all types of folks, so would be delighted to read your book, and I'd be happy to send you a contribution to do so.  I am happy to support the individual walking endeavor.

So after a number of years of long walks in various places (but always on distance walking routes (not always proper trail or road, but via routes that are known), i.e. Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide, Pyrenean High Route, Corsica's GR20, etc etc) and a spring in which I walked the length of Britain end-to-end, I was sitting around reading one afternoon this past summer and I suddenly had what I can only describe as a bicycle-feeling in my legs.  Given that I had last been on a borrowed bicycle for an afternoon ride with a friend in 2005 this seemed unusual.  The time prior to 2005 when I had been on a bike was in 1998 on another borrowed bike for an afternoon ride...when I actually had a little incident with the bicycle that resulted in a minor fracture in the leg.  You get the idea.  It's not like I was a bicyclist or had ever had bicycle aspirations.  Anyway, I had this bicycle feeling and it was impossible to ignore and as I had friends and family to visit in Seattle and a four week leave from work beginning with September I decided to indulge the urge.   I did a bit of research, got an inexpensive bicycle, did a few rides to get used to the thing and off I went with the little dog. 

Adventure Cycling Association based in Missoula makes it very easy with their recommended safe bicycle routes online and mile-by-mile mapping.  So I can't take much credit for anything more than a whole lot of pedaling!  I've never been good at buying into things (other than a pile of maps) so even though I was bombarded with bicyclists In Colorado (where I was living at the time) insisting I would need the latest lycra and padded shorts, and proper gloves, shoes, etc. and a better bicycle as the cheap thing I bought would "never make it that far".  But I did it my way.  I loved your description of the gloves!  They were $3 from the hardware garden section and I liked them because they were so bright and incongruous that I knew if I signaled right or left my hand would surely be visible!

The ride was terrific, really genuinely fun, and so completely different from being a walker.  At ten miles an hour the world is a perfect impressionistic blur in which everything looks its best.  So while I was very much enjoying my bicycle experience I often found myself thinking about how absolutely pure walking is.  It is the most democratic form of transportation, it is the ultimate freedom.  One is completely unencumbered by a machine.  I also think that walking, because it is more of an outsider activity than cycling, forces one to confront oneself and the human condition with a little more depth.  There were moments when I would be cycling and have a fantasy of just abandoning the bicycle and just taking to my feet.  Whistling, free, completely open and exposed to the landscape.  And those were the kind of thoughts I was thinking the day I met you.  Wow.  There is a walker.  Walking in this vast space, completely exposed.

Thanks for the chance to write - it's not everyone who is interested in this kind of thing!

Best,
Amity





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